Posted by Priyanka Sharma on
16 Apr, 2020
Flattening the curve is a public health strategy introduced during the 2019–20 COVID-19 pandemic. The curve being flattened is the epidemic curve, a visual representation of the number of infected people needing health care over time. During an epidemic, a health care system can break down when the number of people infected exceeds the capability of the health care system to take care of them. Flattening the curve means slowing the spread of the epidemic so that the peak number of people requiring care at a time is reduced, and the health care system is not overwhelmed. Flattening the curve relies on mitigation techniques such as social distancing.
What Can We Do To Flatten The Curve?
- Aggressive Testing: Authorities (Govt, hospitals & healthcare officials) need to ensure that proper testing is being conducted widely without any complacency.
- Early Detection: No suspected case should be spared from testing to ensure early detection. The earlier the detection, the better the prospect for flattening the curve.
- Contact Tracing: With the help of latest technology, govt and health institutions must use contact tracing i.e. finding each sick person and then figuring out who they recently interacted with. This is a very vital element to curb a virus from spreading further.
- Strict Home Quarantine: Testing, early detection and contact tracing alone cannot bring the cases down. While positive cases need to be quarantined and treated medically, all those who have come in contact with the confirmed cases must be restricted with a strict home quarantine and social distancing.
- Robust Public Healthcare System: Healthcare systems in a country/state/city need to have ample healthcare personnel, equipment, medicines and space (beds/units/wards) to ensure timely containment of a disease. If a health system falls short on any of these aspects, the disease/outbreak/epidemic can take much longer to contain.
- Cautious Optimism: Worrying, panicking and hoarding can never solve an epidemic situation. To flatten the curve, people need to remain resilient along with adhering to quarantine guidelines. Keeping a positive approach helps but this positive outlook should be accompanied with substantial caution in one's social and personal bearing.